Thursday, July 8, 2010

DPSM Repsonse to Issues raised in the Media regarding Establishment of a Bargaining Council in the Public Service

source: Republic of Botswana (4/7/10) TAUTONA TIMES no 10 of 2010
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity, Discipline and Delivery"


In order to set the record straight DPSM finds it necessary to respond to an otherwise provide its own perspective to issues raised in the media (e.g. 30/6/10 Gazette Newspaper article headlined “DPSM, Unions deadlocked over Bargaining Council,”) regarding the establishment of a Bargaining Council in the Public Service.

In the press it has been alleged that DPSM has decided not to recognise the Unions on the basis that they do not represent one third of the employees of the employer.

In response we would like to state that the employer is obliged by Section 46 of the Public Service Act, 2008, to recognise Unions on trade lines, hence at a recent meeting, the DPSM requested the Unions to submit their membership figures for purposes of validation that they still meet “one third of the employees of the employer engaged in the same trade.” This is in view of the fact that there is now only one employer for the whole Public Service and as such the denominator used to ascertain the membership proportions has changed.

The issue of de-recognition can only therefore arise if any of the unions fail to meet the threshold as contemplated in Section 46 of the Public Service Act, 2008.

It is also not true that the issue of deferment/adjournment was for DPSM to obtain a mandate from Government to “enter into any negotiations over the Bargaining Council.” Adjournment was to allow the parties to reflect further on their positions so that the issues on validation of memberships could hopefully be resolved at a meeting to be convened shortly to continue the discussions.

It is DPSM’s view that following such validation, the recognised Unions and the employer could discuss and finalise the draft Bargaining Council Constitution which would then be jointly submitted to Commissioner of Labour with an application for registration of the Council.

Government, contrary to what has been alleged, cannot be said to be holding to the old dispensation when the meeting with the Unions was called to facilitate the establishment of the Bargaining Council in line with the provisions of the law.

DPSM is moreover not aware of any “political interference” in the process of establishing the Bargaining Council.

If it is true, as reported, that the Unions have submitted the draft Constitution to the Commissioner of Labour, then this would in our view be unfortunate and un-procedural, as both parties (the Government, as an Employer and recognised Trade Unions) have to conclude an agreement on the Constitution and jointly submit it for registration to the Commissioner of Labour. This is so because this Council has to be registered as a Joint Industrial Council in terms of Section 36 of the Trade Dispute Act.

We thank you.

No comments: